Liminal Borderlands

By Rosa Conrad

Betwixt two worlds, I am held by one through my culture and language, the other holds me through its roots of being born and raised on its land but has left me feeling as a foreigner. My heart belongs to both but neither accepts me for who I am. They reject me because of my differences. I am neither Mexican nor white. Chicana, Latina, and Pocha are labels that have been created to identify me but none are me.  I seek a home, a place where I am not questioned, just accepted. My life defines me as a woman, mother, wife, scholar, sister, friend, and yet these things can neither be summed up as anything more but roles I live. Yet without them, I am nothing. Both worlds may never see me how I see them. I see the struggles of woman like me, see the pain in their eyes when they too have been told go back to Mexico, you don’t belong here and yet are told they don’t belong there either. We are labeled pochas.

I am pushed and pulled in both directions, hating to choose one over the other. Knowing I can’t deny being pulled towards the one that makes me more of who I am. I live through it as it lives in me. I cherish the values taught by its culture, the importance of family that is lived through tradition, culture, famialismo, love, honor, and respect. I respect the tradition of living by what has been taught and passed on by my ancestors. Their blood runs through my veins I can’t deny them and I choose not to. My blood feels their struggle. I am a product of their journey and it has carried me to where I am now. It defines a part of who I am. Stuck between two worlds. Divided, unmoving, pulled and pushed, but placed in a liminal space. Made to feel that I am too good for one and not good enough for the other. 

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I see both on either side of me an invisible line, a border.  My foot steps on one side of the line, the other steps on the other side. They feel heavy and I feel rooted in both. I look up take a deep breath and exhale. I am hesitant to step on either side, asking myself which do I choose?

I choose neither, I choose me. I choose to be who I am and reject the labels that have been assigned by both. I deny neither nor accept them. I will take what each has given me and live as I please. Borderlands.

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6 thoughts on “Liminal Borderlands

  1. The last two lines are my favorite. They really speak truth to me. I choose me ! Reject Labels…
    Judging of anyone is not our job. I would not want it.
    The journey is lifelong for each of us and I am thankful to be on this journey.
    All the best to you my friend.

  2. You are an “American Citizen” who’s parents came here for a better life for their family……Just as others did in past history from Europe.

  3. . Awesome piece!! I love the poetic tone that is felt throughout your blog and it really speaks too many of us that are in a space of constant uncertainty in which we are in a constant struggle to define and create our own world and live by our own rules.

    • Hello Mayra, for a long time the feeling of finding a sense of belonging eluded me, liminal space is home. A culture identified by Gloria Anzaldua where I do not need a label placed on me or where my identity is questioned. Thank you for your wonderful comments.

  4. I read and browsed some of the links. This is very helpful, especially for incoming graduate students transitioning into a new environment. More graduate courses should have something like this.

    Also, thank you for sharing your personal narrative/experiences.

    • Lucero I hope this is helpful for graduate students as I entered this new realm of study and as a first generation graduate student I looked for links to help me with becoming familiar with the terminology of a thesis, writing styles, and the ever favorite area of statistics. Thank you for visiting our blog and for your wonderful comments.

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